Textile mills reborn as art hub

Local | Charlotte Luo 7 Dec 2018

The multimillion dollar revitalization project that transformed three 64-year-old adjoining former textile factories into an art space and incubation center for start-ups is open to the public.

Former Nan Fung textile mills 4, 5, and 6 in Tsuen Wan were converted into a single complex and rebranded as The Mills.

Included is an exhibition space, an incubation center for start-ups, and retail and public areas.

The project had a budget of HK$700 million, excluding the land premium to turn a factory site into a commercial area.

Jenny Tse Ka-hei, a senior architect at Nan Fung Development, said the project combined past with present.

"We started to design it in 2014," she said. "The construction took less than two years to complete." The entire space is around 260,000 square feet, she said.

The business incubator, named The Mills Fabrica, is designed for tech style start-ups for innovation in traditional textiles and the fashion industry.

Visitors can experience the former textile mills for six minutes through virtual reality at the exhibition space, named the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, or CHAT.

The center's aim is to promote the culture and history of Hong Kong's apparel industry and is operating under the MILL6 Foundation, a non-profit arts and cultural institution and a registered charity.

There is about 100,000 square feet of retail space, named the Mills Shopfloor. It covers part of the first and second floor.

Several shops have already opened, and sell customized watches, leather goods, and furniture. Tse said the stores have incorporated history into their designs.

For instance, the NF5 metal gate, the previous main entry point to Mill 5, was retained and blended into a wall on the second floor.

Mills 5 and 6, which were originally stand alone, have now been connected by the first outdoor glass bridges in Hong Kong, according to Tse. The old, large concrete roof has also been converted into a park to provide a recreational area where tenants can grow vegetables.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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